As dawn broke on 18th October 2008 the eagerly awaited Claret Jug, (CJ), weekend had arrived – The most prestigious event in the WHV, GS or otherwise, calendar, would be underway in a matter of hours….
Several of the Members were waking up bleary eyed in the Hill Valley Hotel, after participating in The Sapphire Amy Austin Minor the day before – The Amy Austin Match report will (presumably) be provided under a separate cover shortly, from the winner of the Tournament, although there are four things worthy of note in respect of the CJ Report:
1. The TD played in the Amy Austin, but decided to drive home for the evening, to prepare for the CJ in comfort of his own home, rather than hitting the delights of the Whitchurch boozers with the boys. Apparently, even though he is a self proclaimed “hell of a boy”, the TD was worried that he would not be able to handle two nights on the sauce with the boys….
2. During our night in Whitchurch, Team “Ronnie / Coops” lost two forty pound games of pool to Team “Prof / Bruce” – and Team Prof / Bruce lost a one pound game of pool to Team Baxter / Nozzer – and I still have the pound.
3. The Professor was spectacularly blown out by a local “lovely” – Who walked up to him, patted him on his belly and whilst walking away from him turned and said, “Why on earth would I want to play with you?!” – Priceless.
4. For the record – Whitchurch is an absolute dog hole; they show Coronation Street on the screens in the pubs, serve transparent Guinness, have a dreadful Chav club night club – which we did a (very bad)deal to get into, there was some nonsense concerning a bloke “300 quid” and a woman with a bloody face….., but it does have the widest selection of Sambuca, Ronnie has ever witnessed – Including Banana, which is I can assure you is rank!
For those already at Hill Valley on the Saturday morning, the pre-CJ highlight was the “Pedro Catching Challenge”, and fortunately the Captain had arrived early enough (with his PRADA(!) phone), to catch the event on camera – and I full recommend at this is viewed, because my limited command of the English language would not do it justice…. In summary, initially Pedro won two pounds, but then lost a pound and almost broke his nose, when Ronnie, “Dropped one short”… Like I say, well worth a watch!
As the morning progressed, the remaining competitors began to arrive – Notably, Curnips, who arrived with the TD, Little Hero, (making his return to the WHVGS fold after a 7 year absence) and most importantly the coveted CJ Green Jacket – Now resplendent with the WHVGS logo embroidered in gold on the left breast – A magnificent sight, turning the already natty CJ Green Jacket into an item of real class and desirability.
It is also worthy of note that the Aust was unable to compete in the 2008 CJ, due to the birth of his first born – Amy Austin – the day before, which resulted in the change of name to Minor held the previous day.
As the tee-off time loomed there was frantic movement at the bookies “Pedbrokes”, although some shrewd bets had been placed the night before….
As the allotted tee-times approached – 13.36 – in hind site a touch late for mid-October…., we were still awaiting the ever reliable Onions and newcomer – Pal O Onions…. The TD stood on the Tee and announced the format for the day and the Prize structure for the CJ proper. Nearest the Pin 15th, Longest Drive 16th and the prize structure of:
- Winner £60, together with the Claret Jug Trophy and the Green Jacket until of the completion of the 2009 CJ event
- Runner up £30
- Third place £10
- King of the Par 3s (Most Stapleforth points on all Pars 3s during the CJ) £15
- King of the Par 5s (Most Stapleforth points on all Par 5s during the CJ) £15
- Clubhouse leader after day one £10
- Sunday Best (best Stapleforth score on Sunday) £10
- Longest drive day 1 £5 – And the honour of starting the Sunday round of the CJ with the Hulk
- Nearest pin day 1 £5
- Longest drive day 2 £5 – And the honour of holding the Hulk until the 2009 CJ event
- Nearest pin day 2 £5
To be honest this excellent Prize Structure was devised by the President, passed by the Board and welcomed by all. In fact the lowest handicapper on tour had previously commented on the structure – “Good clear structure, I like what you have done with the introduction of new prizes in the CJ but to be honest though, my main objective is to retain the Hulk and come out on top in my weekend wagers with the Prof – Just off to the cashpoint now to withdraw the mother load”
13.36 arrived, just in time for Onions to arrive, without his WHVGS shirt and with Pal O Onions investing in a new one – Lovely!
As the first rounds progressed, each of the groups struggled with the bloody leaves – Thousands of the damn things making it tough to find balls on and off the fairways and the general lack of course plans, coupled with the number of blind holes. The competition also started to get held up by the groups in front….. Scoring across all the groups was mixed, but the general consensus was that the scoring was relatively tight – The round continued, slowly, and it became clear that it was unlikely, that all the groups would make it round the full 18 holes, given the light and the bloody leaves. It was therefore decided and agreed by all groups that the first round the the CJ would be restricted to the first 15 holes (thus completing the Nearest the Pin) and the drives only on the 16th, for the Longest Drive.
The Idiot Hall took the Nearest the Pin award, but the Longest Drive, was an fair more entertaining affair, with each of the groups lining up on the 16th fairway. After the first two groups the TD was quite excitable….. He was marginally inside the cut of the fairway and in the lead then the third group was on the tee – this group contained his nemesis, the diminutive, but surprisingly powerful (by fair means or foul) S Howelly – Who pushed his shot to the right…. The TD was catatonic. The remaining efforts of the 3rd and 4th groups were generally wild, resulting in Gregory becoming more and more hysterical. Midway through the final group, Onions took to the tee and there were numerous comments from the crowd referring to his weapon of choice – The Noz Refurb – all the TD could visualise, was the hulk on this driver for the final round of the CJ – but, much to the delight of the crowd, the Onions, dodgy back, Refurb combination came together when it counted – Not only was the drive definitely on the fairway, (to avoid any previous uncertainty), but it was yards past the TD – Pure poetry – The poor TD was devastated.
After aborting the proposed 7 buggy race back down the 16th fairway towards the club house, due to golfers on the 16th tee, we adjourned to the bar, for a well earned pint, or two….
Everyone got a pint in and the score cards were checked – The second rounds were ordered, please note that the TD ordered a half, which was ignored…….
As expected the scores were tight, especially as the round was cut short – There were 6 stapleforth points separating the top 9 – Coops was clubhouse leader (capitalising on his success in the Amy Austin the previous day – Where is the bloody match report!!) on 27, only beating S Howelly on count back 27, Simon (the current OoM leader and current King of the Majors) was lurking in 3rd one shot behind on 26, The President (last years gut-less runner up) was 4th on 25 and the Idiot was 5th on 24.
Only some of the events of the evening can be reported here, due to the confidentiality around part the CJ weekend, however the evening progressed as follows:
- We adjourned from the bar for a quick shower and brush up and congregated in the dinning room – The TD was already overly excitable, must have been that extra half a pint after the golf…
- Orders were taken and cheese issue was resolved.
- The idiot was given charge of the drinks kitty – 20 quid a man –totalling £300 and he ordered the wine
- Sambuca shots were ordered, the TD gave his away and became “philanthropic”,
- Another Sambuca shot was ordered, various toasts were held and Onions paid his entry fees and purchased a GS shirt for the Sunday round,
- Mystery whisky shots arrived…… Which after detailed enquiries Onions admitted to ordering,
- Food arrived and was consumed
- The TD took it on himself to order more wine and continued his philanthropy
- Another round of Sambuca was ordered
- Food arrived and was consumed
The drinks bill was requested and arrived – quoting £4.10 for each Sambuca…. Another kitty round was required.
The next stage of the evening is covered by a separate set of minutes, however the events that can be recorded are:
- The purchase, by open auction of a Victoria sponge cake
- The purchase of 8 tea cakes for a pocket full of change, c.£2.25
- We were all privileged to see the “Hell of a Boy” TD in his pants, gurning at his own reflection which apparently Ronnie couldn’t compete with…. Curt came to introduce some blokes from the bar to group, who swiftly left…. The TD was taken to bed by Mike Butters! He was the first man down, by numerous hours.
The final part of the night, which took place between about 2 and 4 am was superb and highlights the all-round talents of the WHVGS Members. Initially, Onions played about half of John Lennon’s Imagine several times on a grand piano, which was great – If only he could play it all….. – and then belted out The Killers’ Mr Brightside and was enthusiastically accompanied by the WHVGS Choir, which was belted out numerous times.
The artistic pairing of S Howelly and the Idiot “music hall” Hall then managed to concoct a version of “Don’t look back in anger” – and the WHVGS choir did not disappoint, although the piano stool was unable to contain it’s excitement and combusted….! The majority of the competitors went to bed between 3 and 4 am…Several hours after the TD.
As day two arrived and breakfast was served, the only competitors who actually made the spectacularly poor breakfast were; Juicy, the Idiot, Simon, Bacon and the President – The remainder of the GS’ers, took advantage of the lie in, due to the late tee time.
After breakfast, I went for a nap – When I went down at about 1pm, I walked into an interesting scene…. The TD was ordering his 3rd Grolsch and ordering a portion of “Runny egg and chips in a foil bags” for the round – The foil package arrived and the TD ensured that that the take out portion contained a “runny egg”, he was assured, paid for it, looked particularly pleased with himself and took a swig from the pint….
The next 20 minutes passed quickly and the competitors congregated on the first tee – It was agreed that the nearest the pin would again be the 15th, but the longest drive would be moved to the 8th (Stroke Index 1).
The TD then rolled up in a buggy, with a fresh pint and his food parcel…. He stood on the first tee and announced / ranted that the TD had decided that the final round would finish after 9 holes, because no one in their right mind wanted to play 18 holes…. He was the TD and it was his decision – He was unanimously over ruled by everyone present and the second round commenced…
Having played (most of) the course the day before, the Sunday scoring was generally better…Although the TD only managed two holes, before he aborted his round and headed back to the club house for some liquid refreshment.
A number of competitors headed off after 9 holes, including Curnips, who had the dubious pleasure of taking Gregors back – We understand that up to that point his afternoon had been spent in the bar and asleep in the hotel reception…
At the turn it was pretty tight in the final group, but with the President taking a 5 pointer on the 9th he was slightly in front…. But then the ghosts of the 2007 CJ started to appear, and a dodgy 10th and 11th followed. On the 12th tee, the mind games began, with Simon and Coops, discussing the President’s 1 point lead and how there was still everything to play for…
Meanwhile, Curt was driving the TD home, which included refraining him from using the Merc like a buggy to chase after Showelly down one of the fairways and then stopping at a boozer on the way back, so that the TD could refuel….
During the 13th, 14th and 15th, the President laid the ghosts of 2007 to rest and on the 16th,he took a point with an 8(!) and was getting nearer to the title he was destined for ….
The CJ title was confirmed on the 17th green– The President was the CJ Champion – And he went on to (foolishly) finish the round with style. The 18th is the signature hole and stroke index 6, playing with pride and finishing the best round of my life by bloody miles, I hit the tricky green in two and par’d the hole for 4 points – A round a 42 stapleforth points – Which will mean a bloody big handicap cut for the 2009 Tour, but did I give a damn – Not a chance, I felt bloody marvellous.
A brief prize giving was held in the hotel reception, but the TD had absconded with the prize kitty several hours earlier and the Pedbrokes had lost the takings…
- Winner £60, together with the Claret Jug Trophy and the Green Jacket until of the completion of the 2009 CJ event – A very proud President D Baxter
- Runner up £30 – Coops
- Third place £10 – The Captain – I Hall
- King of the Par 3s £15 : D Baxter
- King of the Par 5s £15 : D Baxter
- Clubhouse leader after day one £10 – Coops
- Sunday Best (best Stapleforth score on Sunday) £10 – D Baxter
- Longest drive day 1 £5 – And the honour of starting the Sunday round of the CJ with the Hulk : Onions and the Refurb
- Nearest pin day 1 £5 : I Hall
- Longest drive day 2 £5 – And the honour of holding the Hulk until the 2009 CJ event : Ronnie
- Nearest pin day 2 £5 : Ronnie
My thanks go to Juicy for organising the memorable 2008 CJ, to the embroiderer for the jacket and to the bookie… I realise that Millers was unable to make the event, but just so he knows…..
By being the CJ winner, having the Sunday Best round, being King of the Par 3s and King of the par 5s, I won (and eventually collected) 100 quid – I also had a tenner on myself at 6-1 and a fiver each way on Coops who came second. And my handicap breaking round of 42 points meant that Ronnie won his 10 quid bet at 3-1 for any round of the weekend breaking 40 Stapleforth points – Attached below are the bookies results and comments on the event in full.
You might think that that would be the end of the report, but you would be wrong…. That evening I went home, I ordered myself a prawn sagwala madras hot, with all the trimmings, opened a bottle of Rioja Reserva 2003 and sat at home basking in my glory. Nozzer and Bruce on the other hand “stopped off in Knowle on the way home to pick up a takeaway, and nipped in to the Vaults for a quick pint while they waited for the takeaway. Whilst chatting to John the Builder at the bar he told them about an extremely drunk man with black hair, going into all of the pubs asking if anyone had seen his golf clubs and then threatening to fight people who hadn’t seen them. He also said his Mrs would kick him out unless he found them.”
Without going into to much detail about the events of that evening, for fear of ruining an insurance claim. Suffice it to say, that the TD will be started the 2009 Tour with: A brand new set of MX25 irons, new woods, a new rescue club and a new bag – All box fresh – and a Calvin Green water proof suit, all be it not “packlite”.
|30/110F||Prof||1/10||1/5||30/100||Slow away both days, did not recover, limped in|
|evens 2F||Ron||3/1||evens||2/1||3/1||evens||Top weight gave too much away to the field.|
|2/1 3F||Showelly||3/1||4/1||2/1||Bright start, lacked stamina for big day, fell away.|
|3/1||Coops||4/1||6/1||4/1||5/1||5/2||3/1||Clear in second place, every chance until second last.|
|3/1||Idiot||6/1||2/1||5/2||3/1||Solid if unspectacular, ran through to third place.|
|3/1||Noz||4/1||6/1||7/1||8/1||9/1||3/1||Disappointing run for fans favourite, never clear of chasing pack.|
|4/1||Baxter||4/1||6/1||2/1||3/1||4/1||Easy winner with 1 to go, ran on. Comfortably beat the handicappers.|
|5/1||Simon||3/1||7/2||4/1||5/1||Strangely unbacked in market, 2008’s consistent performer held on for fourth place.|
|5/1||Curt||6/1||7/1||8/1||5/2||4/1||5/1||Slw awy, rcvrd to strng display 3rd 9. Unfortunately retired (24) due to inteference from stablemate.|
|5/1||Bruce||8/1||6/1||7/1||3/1||4/1||5/1||In contention at half way mark, faded badly.|
|6/1||Greggers||6/1||5/1||7/1||5/1||6/1||Unseated brain (17). Steward’s enquiry, police investigation & WHVGS fine.|
|8/1||Bacon||5/1||6/1||8/1||Looked good for each way value, strong finish to lead trailing pack.|
|12/1||Begley||10/1||12/1||Terrible start after long lay off. Withdrawn (24).|
|14/1||Silv||10/1||12/1||14/1||Never in running. Withdrawn (24).|
|16/1||Antony||12/1||14/1||16/1||Never in running. Withdrawn (24).|
|DNR||Aust||DNR||Retired to stud.|
|Member||Stake||Bet Type||On||Odds||Takings||Return if Win||Return if Placed||Pays|
|Ron||£10||Straight||Someone gets 40+ stapleforth points in a round||3/1||£10.00||£40.00||N/A||-£40.00|
|Ron||£10||Trifector||Ron, Rob, Rich||7/1||£10.00||£80.00||N/A||£0.00|